DiGize Essential Oil

digize-oilLooking for natural help with digestive issues? DiGize is the oil to try!

DiGize is my go-to whenever I have an upset tummy or I’m suffering from pregnancy indigestion.  It’s a blend of several different oils creating a powerful combination:

  • Tarragon – traditionally used to fight intestinal parasites
  • Ginger – a very common stomach-calming item, especially helpful with nausea
  • Peppermint – many cultures chew mint leaves or drink mint tea after meals to relax stomach muscles and help with digestion
  • Juniper – helps to detox and cleanse
  • Fennel – stimulates the digestive system and helps prevents gas
  • Anise – shown to help calm spasms and increase the flow of bile
  • Patchouli – very helpful in alleviating nausea
  • Lemongrass – traditionally used for it’s anti-inflammatory properties for the digestive system

I’ll admit it is my least favorite oil in terms of scent (I think it’s the fennel maybe?), but I use it all the time regardless of the way it smells. It’s totally worth it!  You can also get the Vitality version and put a couple drops in a capsule to swallow so you don’t have to smell it.

Another great home remedy for digestive issues is activated charcoal – learn more about that here!

For more about essential oils, visit this page.

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Big News!!

Due in JanuarySo, I’ve been a little absent on this blog the past few months but am returning with some exciting news to share…

I’m pregnant!  We are expecting our baby girl in January!

We are so thankful that God has blessed us with this precious child.  Having been told by several doctors that it was unlikely I would get pregnant naturally, we were unsure what we would face when we were ready to start a family.  God had other plans and has proven his healing power yet again.  He graciously answered many years of prayers and we had faith that this would not be our struggle- that all my efforts in nutrition and supplements to balance my hormones and heal my body would make it possible. I ask for your prayers in a continued healthy pregnancy and delivery.

I’m excited to share more about my health journey as I dive into this new season of pregnancy, post-partum and motherhood!

RC Essential Oil Blend

As we approach the Fall, I wanted to share about one of my favorite essential oil blends you should consider getting to have on hand for the colds, coughs and sinus issues that back to school and a new allergy season bring.

The name “RC” stands for respiratory congestion – it’s energetic aroma will help open up your sinuses when you are feeling stuffy.  Apply it to your chest with some coconut oil as a natural version of Vicks VapoRub.   Or diffuse it in your bedroom. Many of my mom friends swear by this stuff – diffusing it constantly at home when the kids get sniffly.

It is a blend of oils and includes each of the individual oils below, creating a powerful combination:

  • 3 kinds of Eucalyptus oil – globulus, radiata & citriodora – eucalyptus plants have the highest levels of something called cineole which has been proven in medical studies to help reduce inflammation and act as an expectorant (source)
  • Myrtle – ancient Greek & Italian physicians used this leaf oil as an ingredient in children’s cough syrup
  • Marjoram – calming and relaxing to our sinuses
  • Pine leaf – a refreshing oil used for respiratory support
  • Lavender – read all about the benefits of lavender oil here
  • Cypress – acts as an anti-spasmodic to calm that throat tickle that keeps you coughing, and studies have found that active ingredient camphene limits bacteria growth (source)
  • Black spruce – Native Americans chewed the balsam and bark of this plant to help with respiratory ailments
  • Peppermint – read all about the benefits of peppermint oil here

BreatheRC smells very woodsy and invigorating.  I like to combine it with either Thieveslemon or orange oil to diffuse and it gives my house an autumnal scent while also helping to boost health.

When I feel congested, I also like to use a similar blend called Breathe Again that is pre-mixed with coconut oil and comes in an easy, ready to roll on bottle.

If you have any questions about how to use essential oils, how to buy them or are curious to try them out but not sure where to start, feel free to contact me by commenting below or start here.

Purification Essential Oil

The name of Purification essential oil makes its benefits pretty clear. This blend purifies, cleanses and disinfects in so many ways and can be used both around the house and for your health.  It packs a powerful aroma that well represents the power of the individual essential oils inside the bottle:

  • Citronella – anti-inflammatory and helps repel insectsPurification Essential Oil Blend
  • Lemongrass – purifying and antifungal properties
  • Rosemary – may help fight candida and infections
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) – anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lavandin – antiseptic properties
  • Myrtle – may support immune function

I use this powerful blend all the time and it truly works wonders. Here’s how I use it:

  1. Odor EliminatorDiffuse for Air Purification – a couple drops of this in the diffuser (add some lemon too!) will help purify the air and any unwanted odors in your home. I use this after I cook curry or fish when the smell seems to linger.
  2. Laundry – Have a front-loader washer and hate the mustiness?  Put a couple drops of Purification in the front rubber seal every month to neutralize mildew. Forget to move your clothes from the washer to the dryer for a little too long? Add a couple drops to a dryer sheet, dryer balls or to a wet cloth and add to the dryer to make your clothes fresh again.
  3. Odor Elimination – There are SO many ways to use this oil to eliminate unwanted odors. Put a drop on a cotton ball and put in your shoes (bonus: you can reuse the cotton ball for several shoes). A drop on a cotton ball in the bottom of your trash can or in your car air vent; or a drop to some baking soda in a cup in your refrigerator or down your sink disposal. Purification also works great if you’ve hung around the campfire and can’t get the smoke smell out of clothes, blankets, etc.
  4. Blemishes – Forget to wash your face last night and breaking out? Add a drop of Purification oil to some coconut oil and apply to your face to reduce inflammation  and clear up the blemishes in just a few hours.
  5. Ear Aches – Whenever I get an ear ache and am worried about infection taking hold, I add a drop to a cotton ball and place in my ear to see relief overnight.
  6. Pet Spray – I add a couple drops Purification to a spray bottle with water and spray it on my pup before she goes outside to help repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Plus it helps get rid of the outside-dog smell.
  7. Cuts & Bug Bites – When I cut myself with a rose thorn and my hand swelled, Purification was the only thing that worked to help bring down the inflammation and promote healing. I’ve found the same thing with mosquito bites and wasp stings. Mix with a drop of lavender and teaspoon of coconut oil and apply to bites and cuts.

If you already have this oil, I’m sure you can try one of these uses immediately. If you don’t have this oil, it’s a must-have! See this post for more information on essential oils, or contact me directly at healthyhopefulblog(at)gmail.com.

Antibiotics: Worth a Second Thought

AntibioticsIn 1943, a miraculous drug known as penicillin made its way into our world.  WWII soldiers’ lives were saved. Simple infections no longer risked death. It changed everything.  The development of new antibiotics continued, becoming more widespread and saving millions of lives. Now, antibiotics are essential to all modern medical technology, especially for enabling recovery from surgeries.

While antibiotics have saved many lives, they’re not without risk.  As each new antibiotic has been created, the bacteria have developed resistance.  The creator of penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming, warned:

“The thoughtless person playing with penicillin treatment is morally responsible for the death of the man who succumbs to infection with the penicillin-resistant organism”

Every time your body is exposed to an antibiotic, the most sensitive bacteria are killed and the remaining get the opportunity to learn how to mutate. Since antibiotics do not discriminate, they kill both good and bad bacteria, ultimately weakening your immune system and leaving the stronger ones to flourish and multiply without good bacteria to balance them.

Not only are we giving ample opportunity for antibiotic-resistant “super-bugs” to flourish, but antibiotics also cause permanent damage to your own gut flora. Recent studies are suggesting that the boost in antibiotic use could be what’s behind the increase in issues like autism, ADD, Alzheimer’s and other brain dysfunction.  This is why a daily probiotic (helps promote good bacteria) and healthy, non-inflammatory diet are crucial.

Having had pneumonia and chronic respiratory infections as a kid, I took a lot of antibiotics.  While they may have helped in those cases, I was also prescribed many antibiotics when I didn’t need them- the most crazy being for acne for eight years… yikes!  My immune system was essentially destroyed and I was sick all the time; medication & additional antibiotics couldn’t help me.  Thankfully, the Lord healed me and I’ve since discovered how I can keep my immune system functioning properly through nutrition, supplements and essential oils.  Now, my body is equipped to do it’s job and fight infections naturally; that’s a really good thing since I’m now allergic to nearly all antibiotics and can’t take them when I get sick.

Resistance is an inevitable process that was fully expected, but it is occurring much quicker than anticipated.  Why?

  • Many 3rd world countries have these drugs available over-the-counter, allowing overexposure
  • In the US, 45-50% of the antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary, meaning they are given for conditions for which antibiotics cannot help at all (for example: viral infections)
  • Animals are pumped full of antibiotics to protect them from factory farming conditions and to make them fatter – 80% of all the antibiotics sold in the US go to farms and thus into the meat & dairy we eat.

Antibiotic resistance is currently causing 700,000 deaths per year, and it’s getting worse.  New antibiotics cannot be developed and tested in the time it takes for resistance to develop. We are drawing near to a future that looks a lot like the pre-antibiotic world. While that’s a little overwhelming, you and I can take some small steps towards change that, together, can make a real difference:

  1. Avoid eating conventional meat, dairy and seafood from factory farms and choose antibiotic-free, organic options instead.  Read more about why it matters here.
  2. If prescribed an antibiotic, ask your doctor if it is actually necessary (is a bacteria or virus causing the infection?) or to test if the kind prescribed will actually be effective against that particular bacteria.

The source of this information is a fascinating TEDHealth Talk: What do we do when antibiotics don’t work anymore?  I highly recommend you take a few minutes and watch it now:

For additional info…

If you have HBO GO/NOW, you should also check out VICE Season 3: Episode 6 for a real look at what antibiotic resistance looks like (preview here).

Listen to the famous neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter speak on the Bulletproof Radio podcast for a fascinating discussion of why what’s going on in our gut actually affects the brain.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the above statements are not intended to recommend nor discourage any form of treatment. This post is simply meant to provide information so that you can make informed choices on your health.

One Year Down!

New Years 2014At the beginning of 2013 I made two resolutions: to become healthy and to write this blog as a way to keep myself motivated & educated.  As I have been reflecting on this past year the last two days, I feel so blessed that I’ve been able to meet and exceed my goals.

A year ago, I was starting to learn more about nutrition and natural healing and seeing some results, but I wanted more.  I wanted freedom from my chronic pain and illness.  I knew that it would take a lot of work… sorting through all the confusing, contradictory and controversial information on health out there to decide what I should follow and what would work for me, as well as consistently following the new diets and routines that I needed to integrate into my life.  I have plenty of room to improve on my health habits this year, but I certainly did better than ever in 2013.  While it’s easy to let vanity take over and feel bummed about the weight I never lost, I must focus on the true healing I’ve experienced.  I can’t remember a time where I got sick as little as I did this past year. And I went from being in near constant back pain to only every once in awhile now… y’all, it is life changing.  I enjoy life so much more now that I don’t have the cloud of pain hanging over me. I am so thankful to feel great almost every day when I wake up.  I pray that you’ve experienced healing too, this year.  If you have, I’d love to hear about it, and even share it here!

As for this blog, I could have never imagined all the success it’s had this year (even with my lack of consistency!).  I felt compelled to start it because of all that I was learning… I wanted my friends and family to be able to share in the healing that I was experiencing.  Honestly, I never imagined that this blog would reach as many people as it has.  I simply wanted an avenue to share with people I knew, and if only 20 people ever read it, I would have been thrilled.  But I’ve gotten visitors from all over the world!  In 2013, I had nearly 6,000 unique visitors to this site and I simply cannot believe it!  I’ve received great feedback from readers that my blog has helped them find reliable sources for health recommendations, that it’s opened their eyes to information they hadn’t heard before, or that it’s been nice to have a summary of topics that they wouldn’t have the time or energy to research otherwise.  I love this stuff, so I am happy to help 🙂 To close out the year, I thought I would share my most popular posts of 2013 in case you missed anything!

Most Read Post – Kombucha Home-Brew during Fabulous Fermentation Week

Most Pinned Pinterest Image – Whipped Coconut Milk

Most Popular Recipe – Parmesan Pesto Chicken & Herb Stuffed Brussel Sprouts

Most Controversial – Why I’m Not a Vegan

Most Reader-Shared – Soy it Ain’t So and Why We Get Fat

I have been reading lots of interesting books lately and I’m excited to share lots more in 2014, so stay tuned for more posts soon.  Be sure to hit the “Follow” button at the top right corner of my site to get an email whenever I publish a new blog if you don’t want to miss anything!  And leave a comment to let me know what you would like to see more of on this blog… documentary reviews? book summaries? health controversies? recipes?  I’d love your feedback!

Wishing you a healthy & hopeful 2014!

It’s That Time of Year…

Cold and flu season. Up until a couple of years ago, I generally spent December – March being sick all the time.  No matter how many times I washed my hands or tried to stay away from people, I always caught something.  And when I got a cold, it would be weeks, if not months before I got over it; plus, it usually developed into bronchitis or a sinus infection, and even pneumonia once, at some point too.

Well, I joined the club and caught a cold over the weekend.  But, I’m already much better.  Coincidence?  I think not!  Eating healthy gives you the nutrients your body needs to keep your immune system in good shape so that it can do it’s job.  I focus on a few key items in my diet, especially when I’m sick, to aid the healing process:

  • Kombucha tea – contains lots of probiotics that fight off the bad bacteria attacking your system
  • Bone broth – soups with broth made from chicken/beef bones and full of veggies pack lots of nutrients (I’ll be sharing an easy recipe later this week!)
  • Water – drink lots of it… not only does it help move toxins through your body, but it moisturizes mucous and helps move it through the sinuses

I also want to share a few great articles to expand upon some of the supplements I take daily (and more of when I’m sick) as well as a few other natural ways to help prevent or fight off a cold or the flu fast:

Supplements cannot replace a good diet, but since many of our foods are now lacking the nutrients they had just a hundred years ago, they can definitely help boost your system. When buying supplements, make sure you look for those made from whole foods.  Taking fake vitamins that are manufactured from chemicals won’t help… you need real vitamins from real foods.  I find the best selection at People’s Pharmacy and Natural Grocer here in Austin.

Stay healthy!

– Christine